A Life In Books: Garrison Keillor

My Five Most Important Books

1. "The Acts of the Apostles." The flames lit on their little heads and bravely and dangerously went they onward.

2. "The Folksinger's Wordbook" by Irwin Silber. Hymns, blues, murder ballads, miners' laments—the whole culture.

3. "The Portable Steinbeck" by John Steinbeck. The first book I bought with my own money; I read it over and over.

4. "The Journals of John Cheever." It may be the finest prose work by an American writer.

5. "Roget's Thesaurus, 4th Edition." It's the one with the great lists: flowers, ferns, fabrics, shades of orange, typefaces, goddesses, kinds of cheese, subatomic particles, synonyms for hell.

A classic you revisited with disappointment: "Moby-Dick" by Herman Melville. Why did it take Melville so looooooonnnng to get to the story? I couldn't make it more than halfway through.

A book that parents should read to their kids: "Moby-Dick." Two minutes and they'll be asleep.